Home » Competitive eater prepares for burger challenge at Tom’s Kitchen

Competitive eater prepares for burger challenge at Tom’s Kitchen

Mar. 23—George “The Smorgasbord” Chiger has downed 38 sausages, polished off 142 dumplings and sucked down almost 10 pounds of strawberry shortcake in a matter of minutes at Major League Eating competitions across the United States.

He even competed in the 2020 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, where he took fourth place after bingeing on 24 hot dogs in 8 minutes.

The Pocono Pines man will take on his next challenge at 5 p.m. Thursday, when he attempts to eat a 5-pound hamburger and a pound of French fries at Tom’s Kitchen in Sugarloaf Twp.

“I’m looking forward to having a late meal,” said Chiger, who is ranked the top eater in Pennsylvania and the 15th in the world.

Unlike MLE competitions, he won’t have any opponents. In order to be declared a winner, he’ll have to finish the the colossal meal in 40 minutes.

He said he’s confident that he can do it.

Chiger has been eating his way through Pennsylvania restaurants, and contacted Tom’s Kitchen through social media.

“He called me and said, ‘Hey, as a business owner would you be interested in having me?'” said Clinton Bachert, who owns Tom’s Kitchen. “He wants to support local businesses” by providing them with publicity.

Tom’s Kitchen doesn’t have any food competitions on its regular menu. But because Thursdays are “Burger Nights” at the restaurant, Bachert offered to make Chiger the 5-pound patty.

“It will have everything on it,” Bachert said. “Lettuce, tomato, onion, Russian dressing, cole slaw, you name it. It will be served open-faced on homemade focaccia bread.”

Under current COVID-19 restrictions, Tom’s Kitchen’s is operating at half capacity. While some diners and fans will be on hand, those who can’t make it will be able to view Chiger’s attempt at www.YouTube.com/TheSmorgasbord.

“He’s been going around to other places even if they don’t have eating competitions,” Bachert noted. “Let’s say it’s a (chicken) wing place. He’ll order 15 half-dozens of wings with all their sauces, sit down and eat them and review their sauces. He then puts it on YouTube. He’s just supporting local.”

Chiger recently chowed down massive amounts of food at Tarnowski’s Kielbasa, Nanticoke; Catty Corner Neighborhood Pub & Pie, Catasauqua, and Mad J’s BBQ and Mattie’s Strudel Haus, both in Nazareth.

“Each food demonstrates its own challenges,” Chiger noted.

He got his professional eating start in 2010 after meeting Laurell Marie Mele, Pennsylvania’s top ranked female professional eater.

“I became her sparring partner during hot dog season until she talked me into trying to qualify my first time in 2015,” he said. He made it to Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in 2018 and never looked back.

Chiger trains and practices year-round for competitions. He dedicates three months of each year to eating hot dogs and buns.

And two days before each event, the 6-foot, 6-inch Chiger switches to a liquid diet.

The training helped him in February, when he won The Easy Cheese Chugging Championship of the World. He downed two 8-ounce cans of the cheese in 59 seconds.

Next month he will participate in the National Sweet Corn Eating Championship in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the Three River Festival Pepperoni Roll Eating World Championships in West Virginia in May.

“I’m looking forward to the world reopening and getting back to normal,” he said.

Contact the writer: [email protected]; 570-501-3592.